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Big Cartel vs Shopify: Which is Best for Your Online Store?

Starting an online store can be a great way to reach a larger audience and increase sales. However, with so many e-commerce platforms available, it can be difficult to choose the right one for your business. Two popular options are Big Cartel and Shopify.

In this article, we’ll guide you through a quick comparison of Big Cartel vs Shopify, to help you choose which platform is best for your e-commerce.

Big Cartel: What it is, Key Features and Cons

big cartel vs shopify
Image credit: Big Cartel

Big Cartel is an e-commerce platform, specifically designed for artists and makers. Its strength is the ease of use: it offers a simple, user-friendly interface, suitable for beginners.

📌 Big Cartel: Key features

If we were to highlight five key features of Big Cartel, we would pick these ones:

1. User-friendly interface

Big Cartel’s design is straightforward and intuitive, requiring little to no technical skill. It’s quite easy to use and it comes with useful prompts that guide you in the creation of your online store. This makes it a great option for those who are new to the world of e-commerce and want to focus on their creative work rather than website management.

2. Affordability

The platform has three different pricing plans:

  • Free plan (up to 5 products).
  • $9.99/month (up to 50 products)
  • $19.99/month (up to 500 products)

As you can see, even the paid plans – that don’t have the limitations of the free plan – are way less expensive than its competitors. Moreover, Big Cartel does not charge you transaction fees, which are limited to those applied by the payment processors.

3. Bulk editing

This feature allows you to make changes to multiple products at once, streamlining the management of your online store.

Some of the perks of bulk editing are:

  • It saves time and reduces the margin for error compared to editing each product individually.
  • It’s a convenient tool for online store owners who need to update their shop frequently or handle a high volume of products.
  • You can bulk edit both products, orders, and discounts.

Please note: this option is available only for the paid plans.

4. Simplified inventory management

Since Big Cartel is overall very easy to use, this aspect is also reflected in its inventory management system. In fact, adding a new product to your store is very simple and intuitive, with just a few sections to fill.

Again, this is a plus for new e-commerce owners, who may be feeling a little overwhelmed with inventory management.

5. Limited-time promotions

The platform provides simple tools for creating coupon codes and discounts, allowing you to run sales and promotional campaigns directly through your store.

This feature can be particularly useful during holiday seasons, special events, or when trying to move inventory quickly.

Quick takeaway

The platform is best suited for artists, musicians, and other creatives who want to sell their products online. As we said, it’s a great option if you’re just getting started and looking for something easy to use.

Compared to other e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, Big Cartel has quite essential features, so not the best choice if you have a big e-commerce or you plan on scaling it. Big Cartel also lacks a blogging feature, which many e-commerce use to reach a bigger audience.

  • Customizable homepage.
  • Product management tools.
  • Free option.
  • Easy checkout for customers.
  • Not scalable enough.
  • Few payment options available (PayPal and Stripe).
  • Limited SEO and marketing features.
  • Less customizable than competitors.

Shopify: What it is, Key Features and Cons

big cartel vs shopify
Image credit: Shopify

Shopify is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms out there. Through Shopify, you can create and manage every aspect of your online store.

📌 Shopify: key features

Being Shopify one of the leaders in e-commerce builders, it’s no surprise that it provides more features and functionalities. These are the ones that struck us:

1. Robust customization

Shopify offers more than 100 free and paid themes, each customizable down to the smallest detail. Their proprietary Liquid templating language also allows for more advanced customizations for those with coding skills. Moreover, you can increase the customization of your store through the +8000 third-party integrations.

2. Multi-channel selling

Shopify enables you to sell not just through your online store but also through other channels like Facebook, Instagram, and other marketplaces – all managed from a single dashboard.

This feature can help you grow your e-commerce faster and reach a wider audience.

3. Comprehensive payment options and multi-currency support

Shopify has its own payment gateway, known as Shopify Payments, but also allows you to integrate the payment process you prefer via third-party apps. The platform supports over 100 payment gateways.

Another interesting feature is multi-currency support, which is especially useful if you’re selling all over the world. You can even set country-specific pricing to account for different market conditions, taxes, or tariffs.

4. Dropshipping support

Shopify has made it quite easy to set up and manage a dropshipping business, allowing businesses to sell products directly from suppliers without holding inventory themselves.

To make the process smoother, you can use Oberlo, which is a dropshipping app specifically designed for Shopify. Oberlo allows you to easily import products from suppliers directly into your Shopify store and ship directly to your customers.

🛍️ Dropshipping is a great way to make money online

Learn how to get started here 👉 Dropshipping for Dummies: What is it & How Can You Get Started

5. Abandoned Cart Recovery

Shopify has a complete solution to help you with the recovery of abandoned checkouts, helping you recover potentially lost sales. More specifically, it allows both automated emails, that contain a link to the customer’s abandoned cart, or manual outreach.

Quick takeaway

Shopify is suitable for everyone from small businesses to larger enterprises. It’s a great choice for those who want a comprehensive platform with a large user community and lots of resources.


  • Fully customizable with +8000 third-party apps and services.
  • +100 payment gateways and multi-currency support.
  • Dropshipping support.
  • Extensive SEO and marketing features.


  • Customization can be hard for beginners.
  • App-reliant, fewer built-in features.
  • No free plan.
  • High transaction fees (between 2% and 0.5%, depending on your plan).

Big Cartel vs Shopify

Big Cartel or Shopify? Let’s break down the main points:

Big Cartel
Ease of use

Very easy to use, user-friendly, with simple interfaces and an intuitive design. Suitable for beginners.

User-friendly, with simple interfaces and an intuitive design. Shopify has more customization options, but it can be a little overwhelming for beginners.

Design options

Options to customize, +10 free and paid templates, +100 third-party integrations.

Way more customizable, +100 free and paid templates, +6000 third-party integrations.

Payment options

Major credit cards, PayPal and Stripe

+100 payment options, such major credit cards, PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and many local payment methods. It also support multiple currencies.


Three plans: the Gold plan is free, but has some limitations, the Platinum plan costs $9.99/month; the Diamond plan $19.99/month.

The Basic plan starts at $29/month; the Shopify plan $79/month; the Advanced plan $299/month. Shopify has also an option for enterprise-level e-commerces, called Shopify Plus.

Customer support

Online resources and email support

Online resources and live chat, email, and phone support. Shopify offers a 24/7 customer support.

In short

In the end, it all depends on your business needs. Shopify is the right option for you if you’re planning on growing and investing in your e-commerce. But if you’re looking for a simpler and low-cost option, and don’t need plenty of customizations, Big Cartel is a great choice.

Big Cartel vs Shopify: FAQs

If you’re still not sure and want to have a clearer idea, take a look at the Frequently Asked Questions below.

How much does Shopify cost?

Shopify offers three main pricing tiers:

  • Basic Shopify: $29/month – Includes all the essentials for starting a new business.
  • Shopify: $79/month – Adds features like gift cards, more staff accounts, and better reporting.
  • Advanced Shopify: $299/month – Includes advanced features like third-party calculated shipping rates and advanced report builder.

To the monthly subscription, you should also add the cost of transaction fees, which vary between 2% and 0.5%, depending on your plan.

Additionally, Shopify offers a “Starter” plan for $5/month, if you want to sell on social media and messaging apps (without maintaining an actual online store), and “Shopify Plus” for enterprise-level businesses, where pricing can vary greatly.

All plans come with a 14-day free trial and additional costs may include payment gateway fees, app charges, and optional themes.

How to set up a Shopify store?

Here are the main steps to follow when setting up a Shopify store:

  1. Sign Up.
  2. Select the most appropriate pricing plan.
  3. Choose a domain name or connect an existing one.
  4. Pick a free or premium theme for your store.
  5. Use the drag-and-drop editor to customize your theme.
  6. Go to “Products” in the dashboard and add your items.
  7. Go to “Settings” > “Payments” to choose how you will collect payments.
  8. Go to “Settings” > “Shipping” to set up your shipping options.
  9. Test your store.
  10. Once you’re comfortable, remove the password protection and make your store public.

If you’re looking for a more in-depth step-by-step guide, here’s our Shopify checklist.

How to dropship on Shopify?

Dropshipping is a great way to make money online and via Shopify you can do that quite easily:

  1. Make sure your Shopify plan supports third-party apps.
  2. Choose a dropshipping app: apps like Oberlo, Printful, or others offer dropshipping services.
  3. Use the app to search and import products into your store.
  4. Mark up the prices for a profit.
  5. When an order is placed, the app will notify you. You then fulfill the order through the app, and the product is shipped directly to the customer from the supplier.

Don’t know where to look for suppliers? Here are 10 of the best dropshipping platforms.

How much does Big Cartel charge?

Big Cartel has three different pricing plans:

  • Gold: free plan (up to 5 products).
  • Platinum: $9.99/month (up to 50 products).
  • Diamond: $19.99/month (up to 500 products).

Big Cartel does not charge you transaction fees, which are limited to those applied by the payment processors.

Is Big Cartel good for beginners?

Yes, Big Cartel is a good option for beginners who are new to selling online. It’s tailored for artists and makers and is generally suited for smaller businesses or individuals who want a simpler, less feature-rich platform. The free tier offers a no-risk way to try out the platform, making it accessible for beginners.

How to customize Big Cartel website?

Here’s how to customize your Big Cartel website:

  1. Login: go to your Big Cartel admin dashboard.
  2. Theme: under the “Design” tab, choose a theme that you like.
  3. Customize: click on “Customize design” to change various elements like colors, fonts, and layout.
  4. Code Editing: for more advanced customization, Big Cartel offers HTML, CSS, and JavaScript editing.
  5. Add Products: navigate to the “Products” tab and start adding your products.
  6. Set Up Payments: configure your payment gateway under the “Settings” tab.
  7. Test: make sure to test your store before going live.

Compliance for eCommerce websites

While which platform you chose to host your shop with is optional, one thing isn’t: if you’re selling online, you’ll need to meet certain legal requirements.

👉 Whether you’re in the US, Europe or another region, you’ll likely need professional terms and conditions for your store (simple templates won’t cut it).

Here’s everything you need to know about terms and conditions for e-commerce stores

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